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Airport Lounge Access

I am fortunate enough to travel frequently; four or five times per year, and almost always by plane – sometimes in Europe, and sometimes longhaul, but always economy (and usually by super-cheap indirect flights with six hour layovers in some godforsaken dusthole of an airport somewhere in the Middle East at 2am). So on such trips when all the communal standard class seats are taken by people sprawled out asleep I’ve found myself casting envious eyes at the welcoming doors of the Executive VIP Airport Lounges, with their plush receptions staffed by welcoming airline employees, bright-eyed no whatever what ungodly hour it is, and imagining the delights that lay within.

Such VIP lounges are out of my league, sadly, as a mere cattle class passenger. Or so I thought. A new airport lounge membership programme called Priority Pass discounts has caught my interest. Boasting over one million members, holders of a Priority Pass card have access to over six hundred airport lounges worldwide. There are three levels of membership; the basic level is targeted at the casual traveller and allows airport lounge access but it comes at a cost (a reasonable £15 per visit, which if you think about it, you could easily spend on newspapers/magazines, food and drink on a typical three hour layover). The middle tier gives you ten “free” visits for your membership fee, and the top flight membership offers unlimited airport lounge access for those who travel regularly on business or are lucky enough to take many holidays throughout the year.

I’m sorely tempted by the middle option; ten passes to airport lounges would easily cover my five journeys per year (some of which consists of two flights joined by a layover) and the money for the membership would be offset by that otherwise spent on expensive sarnies, soft drinks and magazines. Since I travel often for work then it is wholly justifiable as a business expense, too.

What do you get for your membership fee? Well, providing you actually remember to actually bring it with you to the airport, flashing it at the lounge entrance (and paying a fee, if appropriate for your membership level) results in access to comft seats, a spacious, quiet environment frequented by business types, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks (in selected lounges), snacks (including bacon rolls at breakfast time in some of them!), access to business facilities such as fax/phone, free wifi internet, the latest magazines and newspapers, showers (in the better lounges) and even conference/meeting rooms – and, if you’re a smoker, some state that the smoking rooms in the VIP areas (where availavle) are much less grotty than those in economy, due to the fewer number of people using them.

With the Priority Pass 10% off discount on the link above, it’s even better value… suddenly those cheapo but painful 3am Gulf Air layovers in the desert are looking a whole lot more appetising…

Sign me up!

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